Finnish president confirms forestry chat with Trump – but does not remember details

Finland’s president can recall discussing forestry with President Donald Trump but is not sure if the subject of raking came up.

Mr Trump told reporters on Saturday while visiting the ruins of the Northern California town where a fire killed at least 76 people that wildfires were not a problem in Finland because crews “spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things” to clear forest floors.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said in an interview published on Sunday in the Ilta-Sanomat newspaper that he spoke briefly with Mr Trump about forest management on November 11, when they both were in Paris for Armistice Day events.

Mr Niinisto said their conversation focused on the California wildfires and the surveillance system Finland uses to monitor forests for fires.

He remembered telling Mr Trump “We take care of our forests”, but could not recall raking coming up.

The US leader’s comment generated amusement on social media in Finland, which manages its vast forests with scientific seriousness.

Forests cover over 70pc of Finland’s 338,000 square kilometres.

The Nordic country with a population of 5.5 million is home to some of the world’s biggest paper and pulp companies.

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